The new Saturday night dine-in

relaxed dining ideas
Jennifer Morgan,-Interiors Editor

With Saturday nights increasingly focused around the dining table, why not follow our tips to create a true restaurant experience at home?

As we spend more time in the kitchen cooking family favourites, experimenting with new recipes – tooth-cracking sourdough we’re looking at you – and recreating dishes from holidays past, Saturday night dine-at-home has become a whole new culinary event. But it’s not just about the food we cook and eat; creating the full restaurant experience with your choice of tableware and glasses will give your new fine-dining creations the setting they deserve. ‘The trend for staying in and eating at home has been growing for a while,’ says Fionnuala Johnston, Partner & Senior Designer, Home. ‘But the desire for togetherness and spending more quality time with family is now more relevant than ever.

‘Our love of home cooking has taken on new meaning and the rituals of preparing food and eating together have become a very important part of our lives. We want to make this time as special as possible, experimenting with food and creating beautiful and creative tablescapes,’ adds Fionnuala.

With hashtags such as #makeamealofit trending on Instagram, where we’re encouraged to see food as an experience at home, isn't it time you dressed your table in style?

relaxed dining ideas

Add a dash of colour

‘The table has become the new “shelfie”; it’s where we can experiment, exploring different patterns and colours with our tableware and glasses, placing them on decorative tablelinens and adding a finishing touch with a contrasting napkin,’ says Fionnuala. If your everyday tableware needs a style boost, then try adding an accent colour. Warm ochre or zingy lime is great against monochrome, while blush pink lends a touch of warmth to earthy neutrals. Try adding a set of coloured napkins to mealtimes, or serving on placemats in enticing shades.

‘Coloured china has overtaken white when it comes to sales,’ reveals Nicola Hattersley, Partner & Buyer, Tabletop. ‘We’ve got some great coloured glazed ranges from Portugal that are proving really popular, while closer to home, Denby, is one to watch, with everything designed and made in the UK.’

Coloured glassware is also having a style revivial, with tumblers and wine glasses in practically every shade, adding interest to pre-dinner drinks from the bar trolley.

relaxed dining ideas

Bring in a pattern hit

Just as you would add a hero print cushion to your sofa for an instant refresh, a patterned piece of tableware can elevate your Saturday night table. Nicola recommends bold designs, such as the Fusion range, with pieces inspired by Indian prints. Look for noodle bowls and dip bowls, which can be used for a sharing table, while bowls and platters that mix mango wood with pattern add extra interest. If Saturday is curry night, the Kainoosh range of thali serveware will help recreate that authentic feel. 

Again, look for unusual glassware, featuring coloured swirls or stems, which lend a sense of occasion to the everyday. Recycled glassware is another big trend, and will give your at-home restaurant its own sustainability credentials.

relaxed dining ideas

Think texture and shape

When it comes to shape, tableware has never had so much variation. The current vogue is for the rimless plate – with it’s shallow sides, it’s a combination of a plate and a pasta bowl, and makes even a daily favourite like a good old spag bol look super-stylish. Try a muted palette of soft greys and blush, with touches of black for drama. Sales of pasta bowls have been soaring over recent years; any Italian mama will tell you the ultimate comfort food is best served this way. Glaze is key too, which will give that artisan feel so loved by boutique eateries.

Don’t dismiss the tablelinens in this dining experience: taking the time to dress your table with a fresh cloth and add napkins, before finishing with a table arrangement of fresh flowers – or a collection of succulents on a tray – will make your Saturday-at-home restaurant complete. And there’s no waiting list to get a table either… dinner is served.

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